Sorrento is one of Italy’s most famous coastal towns. Cobbled backstreets populated with local artisans selling ceramics, limoncello, and leather goods abound, and right at the core of this picturesque town is the 188-year-old Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria.
Owned and operated by the Fiorentino family since 1834, it has played host to Richard Wagner and Oscar Wilde, and supposedly sits on the ruins of Roman Emperor Augustus’ villa. Alongside its many notable visitors, the hotel exudes history with 18th-century columns, frescoed ceilings, and fine antiques displayed throughout. In fact, every detail, arch, and/or ornament of the structure tells a story.
The Packing Edit
Distinguished and romantic Italian leanings, with a smattering of Wes Anderson.
All 80 guest rooms at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria are elegantly furnished with antiques collected over the years, Vietri-tiled floors, marble bathrooms, trompe l’oeil artwork, and other rarefied details. It’s no wonder the hotel has three full-time furniture restorers for the upkeep of the décor.
Classic and clean, no two rooms are the same. Many have original bathrooms; some with grand pianos; and often rooms offer balconies giving you the chance to re-enact key scenes from that rather famous Shakespeare play. Rooms enjoy garden or sea views, both equally spectacular, whilst interconnecting bedrooms are great options for families looking to enjoy privacy, convenience, and luxury all at once.
Beds are made up with the finest Frette pure linen sheets and immaculate marble bathrooms come with top-quality towels, robes, and slippers.
The Little Extras
Arrive by sea at the Marina Piccola and the staff will guide you to a private, glass-walled elevator for the quick trip 165 feet straight up to the hotel. Or perhaps make your entrance by helicopter, via the hotel’s heliport. Regardless of your route, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria will immediately make you feel like a star.
The Food + Drink
The hotel’s Michelin-starred Terrazza Bosquet is renowned for the chef’s Neapolitan specialities (open during season time only).
For more casual dining and some welcomed shade (courtesy of the orange grove) L’Orangerie Poolside Bar and Restaurant is a great choice. Its offering is ideally positioned somewhere between poolside lounging with light lunchtime classics, and light evening entertainment accompanied by oh-so sippable drinks post-dinner.
Our favourite spot is of course the Vittoria Bar, positioned on the panoramic terrace. With a calendar of live music your toes will tap of their own accord from the moment you sit down to your first apéritif.
The breakfast feast is as spectacular as the room within which it sits and includes a fabulous array of sweet and savoury options.
The To-Do List
Stop one: the outdoor pool, where you can while away a sun-drenched afternoon. Should you (somehow) tire of this, Sorrento’s bustling shopping streets are just outside the entrance of the hotel – prepare to stock your wardrobe with the finest handmade linens and sandals.
Vesuvius is within sight and coaxes visitors with numerous hiking trails through its impressive crater landscape. At its south-eastern base, a visit to the world-famous ancient city of Pompeii beckons. You can also see Naples, the birthplace of pizza (or indeed try your hand at authentic Neapolitan pizza making within the hotel), and then there’s Eldorado for culture fans, bargain hunters, and food hunters.
A dedicated concierge will help guests organise trips to nearby islands, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, as well as the Amalfi Coast. Zipping around the Sorrentine Peninsula by sea? The hotel’s 40-metre boat is available for hire.
For downtime, relax in La Serra Spa. Housed in a 19th-century greenhouse adjoining the hotel’s swimming pool, it’s designed according to principles of Feng Shui.